THE HOUSE OF TERROR AND THE HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL CENTRE: RESENTMENT AND MELANCHOLIA IN POST-89 HUNGARY

in European Cultural Memory Post-89
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Abstract

The Terror Háza (House of Terror, 2002) and the Holocaust Dokumentacios Kozpont es emlekgyujtemeny (The Holocaust Documentation and Memorial Centre, 2004) opened in Budapest within two years of each other. Together, these two museums are illustrative of the phenomenology and competing affective narratives of Hungarian national memory post-89, and of post-communist countries more generally. While each museum purports to tell a specific history, both are manifestations of the political struggle over the national memory of the Second World War and its aftermath, a history that has been substantially rewritten since the end of Communism. The House of Terror enacts the ‘double occupation’ of Nazism and Communism and the Holocaust Memorial Centre archives and the deportation of the Hungarian Jews and Roma. Each museum aestheticises an affective phenomenology of historical victimisation, provoking ressentiment and melancholia respectively in visitors as a means of staging moral values and perpetuating contested memories.

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